Dominion: Prequel to the Exorcist


Action / Drama / Horror / Thriller


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October 07, 2014 at 01:28 AM



Stellan Skarsgård as Father Lankester Merrin
Gabriel Mann as Father Francis
Ralph Brown as Sergeant Major
Rick Warden as Corporal Williams
720p 1080p
818.69 MB
23.976 fps
1hr 57 min
P/S 3 / 12
1.85 GB
23.976 fps
1hr 57 min
P/S 3 / 7

Movie Reviews

Reviewed by eht5y 7 / 10

Solid. Unexpected, effective film.

Much has been made of the peculiarly Kafka-esquire journey of 'Dominion': originally in the hands of the late John Frankenheimer, the 'Exorcist' prequel project was turned over to Paul Schrader, director/screenwriter best known for dark, gritty, existential dramas such as 'Taxi Driver,' 'Hardcore,' and 'Auto-Focus.' Schrader delivered a film allegedly close in spirit to the original, but the suits were unsatisfied, feeling that the film they'd been given lacked the necessary frights to please the current audience for horror films. As has been amply explained, the original 'Exorcist' was itself much less a horror film than a psychological drama, spare of excessive fun-house shock value, but the audience has changed--younger, dumber, and trained to expect cheap thrills--and the decision was handed down to re-tool the film to add more special effects and gore. Schrader refused, was fired and replaced by Renny Harlin, who re-shot the film almost entirely with a significantly revised story, several new actors and characters, and a decidedly less cerebral approach. But Schrader's film was already in the can, and horror purists and Exorcist junkies were left to wonder what might have been--if, for once, there might be a sequel/prequel that made genuine efforts to add to a story's mythic tradition rather than merely to exploit its notoriety to sell tickets and popcorn.

At last, we are able to weigh in on 'Exorcist prequel: take 1,' and while it certainly doesn't capture the original's aura of terror and dread, 'Dominion' reminds us that the most frightening terrors are in the subconscious and the imagination, and offers a more patient and believable glimpse into how Father Merrin first encountered the demon that would later find its way into a particular corner townhouse in Georgetown.

Schrader's direction--aided by the camera of legendary cinematographer Vittorio Storraro--is patient but not without scope. They frame the African hill country beautifully, and while things at times seem a bit too clean and tidy, I didn't consider the film 'slow.' Skarsgard's Merrin is essentially the same character as in 'Beginning,' and while he isn't inadequate, his performance may be a bit too restrained. As in the Renny Harlin cut, we are told that Merrin has left the priesthood out of guilt and anger at God over a particularly horrific confrontation with man's inhumanity to man in Nazi-occupied Holland near the end of WW II. More is made of this back-story in 'Dominion,' but Merrin's crisis of faith seems less palpable and torturous than that of Damien Karras in 'The Exorcist,' so that his re-conversion to belief doesn't register the expected intensity. Gabriel Mann appears as Father Francis (due to schedule conflicts with the re-shoot, he was replaced by James D'Arcy in 'The Beginning'), and his tender, almost androgynous demeanor makes him an endearing and appealing character. Clara Bellar appears as Rachel, a character entirely written out of 'The Beginning' and replaced with a sexier version of the same, played by Bond girl Isabella Scurupco. Bellar is more believable as a nurse in East Africa, and her back-story creates a connection with Merrin, but she still seems a bit out of place (though certainly far more appropriate to the story than her counterpart in 'The Beginning'). Julian Wadham reprises his role as a tormented British Major, to strong and believable effect. The climactic confrontation with Pazuzu is entirely different in this film, and far more believable (and chilling).

Nevertheless, there are some inconsistencies, and the framing of the exorcism scene lacks the intensity of the first film's, largely because the audience is never adequately introduced to the victim. A big part of what made 'The Exorcist' terrifying is that the audience is given the opportunity to watch the full transformation of a sweet, affectionate child into a bile-spitting, profane shell for a malevolent spirit. 'Dominion's victim is never fully introduced, and thus, the audience has less of an investment in his exorcism.

In the end, however, this film far exceeds the quality of the amusement-park silliness of 'The Beginning,' and while it's not likely to break the bank, it is certainly the most respectable of the films based on Blatty and Friedkin's original.

Reviewed by Joseph Prisco (popezaphod_I) 10 / 10

Ignore "Should have gone straight to video" review

Another reviewer claims this film was just "Exorcist: The Beginning" with some "extra footage" added. Anyone who has been following the history of the production of this film know this is not the case.

This is the film that Paul Schrader shot and edited. The studio was unhappy with the results, fired him, and brought in Reny "Die Hard" Harlan to re-film it. The resulting Harlan film tanked at the box office, so Schrader was given permission to fully finish and release "Dominion" as a separate film.

If anything, this is a chance for film fans to see the "Exorcist" prequel they had been promised before the studio big-wigs stepped in and brought in a hack director to "bloody it up".

Reviewed by ldemesmaeker 5 / 10

Paul Shrader's exorcist

I was among the lucky ones to see this film in Brussels too. Are you going to like this film or not ? Well it all depends on what you expect. As a horror film fan, for me there is no doubt : no one will ever make a better Exorcist film as William Friedkin's original. They can make 100 more exorcists, the 1st will remain the reference, it was innovating in many ways. Exorcist 2 took its best horror sequences from the first one. Number 3 was a cop movie. Now we have numbers 4 and 5 with the same story and even the same actors sometimes. So where is the difference ? I saw them both but I did not expect to see a better movie than the first. It is probably why I liked them both. So if you prefer horror, well see Harlin's one, it is a decent successor. And if you like Paul Shrader' s movies, I don't think you will be disappointed with his version, witch is softer but deeper. But please, as he said to the public before the film : forget everything you have seen about the exorcist movies before and watch the film with a open mind.

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